Chris Gayle as I type this is still 301 not out against Sri Lanka , in the first test of this tour. Chris Gayle has shook off the pressure or sometimes watchful eye of the being captain to unleash a power innings of shots and focus not seen from this pure entertainer, winding back the clock to have people remember the original master blaster Sir Viv Richards.
Long has he been known as the entertainer in the shorter versions of cricket, even coming out to say how much he didn’t like playing in the Test arena. All this fuelled the fire from the critics that he didn’t have the temperament or patience for the true test that is 5 day cricket. We have always seen a glimpse of possible big scores, with Gayle being his own worst enemy in many situations throwing his wicket away, just as it seemed he was closing in on the big scores.
I vividly remember the warm WACA afternoon as the “Doctor” the name for the breeze that comes off the seaboard drifts over Perth playing surface, was moving in as Chris Gayle attacked the Australians blasting shots not seen in Test Cricket one going straight over the bowlers head that seemed to clear the members stand, the crowd was in awe of a man so devil may care with a bat in his hand. Cutting and weaving runs for a team that lacked any fight or spirit during the previous encounters. Too often Gayle has been more about the show than the runs, with energy spent on talking to bowlers and the media about what ‘might happen’ rather than what will. He has had bravado and shown plenty of front when needed at the crease best shown with a running chat with the English bowlers at Lords during the Windies last tour.
Talking has only gained him a reputation of a showman rather than a batsman, and people have long got tired of this repeat performance. Yet as the sun now moves lower over the Galle Ground on Day 2, with Sri Lanka struggling to come to terms with life without Murali and his constant pressure from one end. Gayle is still punching into the evening sky having added 23 more runs to his total as I reach my conclusion.
Where this innings leads even I am not sure of at 324 on the board and 33 fours and 9 sixes in this master full innings that will go down in the history of long West Indies greats.